Pulitzer Amsterdam | The Luxury Of Authenticity
Pulitzer Amsterdam highlights the Dutch city’s elegance by paying tribute to its heritage.
“Small city, big heart” is how locals would refer to the capital of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Amsterdam – a city where people truly care about each other, embrace the “good neighbors” mentality and create lifetime friendships while enjoying its safety, warmth and spirit.
This wonderful city is also known for its artistic heritage, elaborate canal system and narrow houses with gabled facades, legacy of the city’s 17th-century Golden Age. All this is represented in a recently restored Pulitzer Amsterdam. This luxury hotel, set within 25 interlinked 17th and 18th century canal houses, in one of Amsterdam’s chicest neighborhoods, blends traditional and modern Dutch craftsmanship and service.
“The elegance of Amsterdam is underrated. I love drawing inspiration from the city for the hotel. Pulitzer Amsterdam is the ideal starting point to discover the city. Every canal house has its own story, and I am extremely proud that they are letting me bring them to life.”, says Jacu Strauss, the Creative Director and leader of the refurbishment of Pulitzer Amsterdam.
Jacu’s scope for the Pulitzer project was much broader than just interior design, he was also involved with architectural elements such as constructing a new building entrance, restaurant, garden corridors along with furniture design, garden landscaping, styling in public areas and in rooms, and other forms of branding.
The renovation and restyling of a 46-year old hotel consisted of twenty-five 300 to 400 years old canal house buildings. The complexity of the project meant that a lot was invested from planning and design perspective before the work even started. Construction occurred in two phases, the first phase started in April 2015 and a “Small Pulitzer” opened in January 2016, with phase 2 completed in August 2016. The hotel officially opened in September 2016.
“We started discussing the property very early on. My first response to the property was the same as the vision the client had for the Pulitzer: To do a refurbishment of the interiors and garden that reflected the beauty and history of the 25 historic canal house buildings, yet combine it with beautiful modern interior. We also wanted to create several environments for guests and neighbors to enjoy, such as the restaurant, bar and garden. The property is very unique so it was important we agreed a clear concept in the beginning to follow through to completion, and that is what we did,” says Jacu.
Jacu has spent a lot of time in Amsterdam to understand not just the property and its complexities, but to also live and breathe Amsterdam life. Noticing that he likes to combine a mix of finishes, styles, colors and textures, for Pulitzer Amsterdam, Jacu found inspiration from all around the city, whether it would be a masters painting in the Rijksmuseum, a detail on someone’s front door or a trip on a friends’ boat on the canal on a sunny day.
The context and surrounding environment was considered and well understood for the outcome to be convincing and authentic. The Pulitzer is in one of the most idyllic locations in Amsterdam, The Nine Streets, between two most famous canals Prinsengracht and Keizersgracht, and all the world famous museums within a walking distance. The hotel from the outside is fitted in with the rhythm of the streetscape and creates all the different areas in such a way that it invited locals to enjoy it too.
The interior finishes in the Pulitzer lobby, for example, reflect the fact that those particular buildings were once warehouses; wooden beams, brick, end grain flooring, brass reception desks. This is contrasted by decadent, elegant and colorful pockets of furniture and antique art. There are a lot of different designs throughout the entire hotel, but a lot of similarities as well. It is through certain details and color schemes that the design seems effortless and transitional throughout the hotel.
The concept of all the rooms are based on the “400 year old collector’s apartment”. The furniture used is an eclectic mix of styles, as if they were left behind from different eras over the last 400 years. No two rooms are the same in this hotel. Due to the twenty-five canal house buildings, each room needed its own set of furniture which fits its space. To accomplish that, Jacu stayed in each and every one to mull over the fit-out. Each room portrays a homely residential feeling in a real Amsterdam apartment with its historical heritage but modern comfort.
The Collector’s Suites of the hotel are particularly individual, using the concept to extend the narrative of who may have lived and worked in these buildings throughout the years. Although no one can be certain, it is said that these buildings were once home to a compulsive art devotee, an eccentric book lover, a music composer and a grand antique collector. Each suite gives a private entrance to the Keizersgracht, giving it the feel of a real Amsterdam apartment.
One of the suites is the Book Collector’s Suites. The room is the home of a romantic book collector, an explorer and intellectual. It has a dark and atmospheric color palette, dark-colored walls and herringbone wooden oak floor. The centerpiece of the room is the dramatic floor-to-ceiling book arched display in the bedroom with old and new books from bookstores in the Nine Streets and local book markets. More books and collector’s items, such as a classic Amsterdam bicycle, are stacked above the wardrobe. The living room has a large antique mirror from Anouk Beerents; well-known from the nearby Prinsengracht near Pulitzer. Overlooking the canal, it holds an oak writer’s desk with a vintage leather armchair. The high ceiling in the living room is decorated with a massive dark crystal chandelier. The floor has an eye-catching patchwork Persian rug by Piet Hein Eek, using vintage Persian rug sections with borders made from disused military tents.
An interesting anecdote to highlight is the new entrance of the building. It is the first new building within the UNESCO heritage area of Amsterdam since it was awarded that status 6 years ago. It is a contemporary silhouette of the memory of the building that may have once stood there, yet a traditional brick construction has been used to fit in with the neighboring historic buildings. It took a whopping seventeen design sketches before Jacu Strauss together with the Amsterdam commune, agreed on the final design.
“Pulitzer Amsterdam is a place where you can be whoever you want to be – and it is through the design process that we inspire this. The Collector’s Suites are a great example of this, where the design was inspired by previous Dutch Aristocrats that may have previously inhabited the canal houses – from a compulsive art devotee, an eccentric book lover, a music composer and a grand antique collector,” commented the designer.
This luxurious property is very much a tribute to Dutch heritage, aiming to encourage all members of the community along with guests of the hotel to have a taste of Pulitzer the way they desire. Luxury certainly means something different to each person and it’s not just about scale and service and expense, but more about being able to experience something different. Luxury at the Pulitzer is having an authentic Amsterdam stay in something historic and unique. Some rooms are 400 years old and the character that remains is also a luxury to experience.